How Handy are the British Public?

DIY is a tricky subject. While some people are happy to get their hands dirty, others would much rather leave repairs around the home, car, and garden to the professionals.

Woman fixing kitchen sink

But with prices for even the most basic services set to soar in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis, is it time for a bigger proportion of Brits to give DIY a go?

To answer that, we first need to find out how handy the British public are. Because while DIY can be easy for those in the know, it’s a different story for those who don’t know their wall plugs from their plumb bobs.

To get a picture of the UK’s DIY competence, we launched a survey asking Brits to rate their skills when it comes to repairs and maintenance around the home, car, and garden. The results were surprising, and with a region-by-region split, it’s possible to see which areas of the country could do with brushing up on their knowledge of DIY.

Keen to find out how good your neighbours are at DIY? Read the results of our survey in full below.

How Handy Are Brits Around the Home?

Basic maintenance, day-to-day fixes and advanced renovations are an inevitable part of home ownership. But what isn’t set in stone is how much these types of problems and improvements cost – particularly if you ditch the pros and opt for the DIY route instead.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Household DIY is rarely a simple undertaking – with wonky walls and unseen issues deterring many homeowners from putting hammer to nail themselves.

The question is, how handy are Brits when it comes to household DIY? Let’s find out…

How do Brits rate DIY skill pie chart

When it comes to basic maintenance around the home, it seems us Brits are an optimistic bunch. Nearly half rated their DIY skills as ‘advanced’, suggesting that a majority of homeowners are happy to have a go at fixing minor problems themselves.

That’s not to say every Brit is a budding tradesman, however. In fact, when it comes to more advanced problems around the home, two thirds would prefer to call a DIY professional than tackle the problem independently – meaning many people face paying significant sums to keep their home in good working order.

Then, of course, there are those that avoid DIY altogether – whether that’s hanging a picture or bleeding a radiator. Surprisingly, around one in ten people surveyed fell into this bracket, rating their DIY skills as ‘non-existent’. That’s a lot of people missing out on the wide-ranging benefits that DIY can bring.

Of course, not everyone relies on tradesmen to look after their home. In our survey, we asked people who they typically rope in to fix problems around the house, receiving an interesting bag of responses…

Pie chart Brits DIY

While it’s clear many people prefer to sort problems around the home without spending money – often roping in their other halves to solve tricky DIY issues – the vast majority concede that you can’t beat a professional service. And for peace of mind and a guaranteed high standard of work, who can blame them?

Top 10 DIY Tasks that Most Brits Can Complete

Of the household DIY tasks that Brits do tackle themselves, which are people most comfortable with? Here’s a breakdown of the 10 DIY maintenance tasks that most Brits are likely to complete themselves.

Top 10 DIY Tasks that Most Brits Can Complete

From changing a lightbulb to hanging pictures, it’s reassuring to note that the majority of Brits are happy to handle simple DIY projects themselves. A whopping 91% said they’re comfortable changing lightbulbs, while painting walls, weeding gardens, and changing smoke alarm batteries were also well within the remit of the average DIY’er.

In fact, we were surprised by some of the maintenance tasks that people were willing to take on, which include reasonably advanced issues like changing fuses and unblocking toilets. Maybe there are more up-and-coming plumbers and electricians among us than we assumed?

Which DIY Household Tasks Do Brits Struggle with the Most?

Although the British public are comfortable tackling some tasks, others are naturally beyond the reach of the average DIY’er – but which ones? Take a look at the household tasks that Brits struggle with the most below…

Which DIY Household Tasks Do Brits Struggle with the Most_

From fitting internal walls to tiling a bathroom or kitchen, some home improvements are far above the skill level of the average DIY enthusiast. Other tasks that DIY’ers conceded were too difficult include replacing roof tiles, fitting carpet, and removing radiators for decorating purposes.

While it’s easy to understand why people wouldn’t attempt some of the tasks in our top 10, there are a couple that we believe could easily be completed by home DIY’ers.

Take cleaning your roof gutters, for instance. With the right tools, a sturdy ladder and a head for heights, there’s no reason confident home improvers couldn’t tackle this task themselves. And the same goes for other maintenance jobs, too, including fixing a dripping tap, building a shed, and landscaping a garden.

Household DIY Across the UK: How Capable is Your Region?

Fancy finding out how your home improvement skills stack up against others across the UK?

When it comes to getting stuff done without outside help, the people of Yorkshire are the most confident to have a go. On average, the English county had the most people proclaiming themselves ‘experts’ at DIY – more than anywhere else in the country.

Elsewhere, the North East came out as the least competent at DIY, with the majority of people rating their skills as ‘beginner’. The South East didn’t perform all that well in this category, either, with 16% of respondents from this region saying their DIY skills are ‘non-existent’.

Surprisingly, London fared very well for its home improvement prowess, with the highest number of ‘advanced’ DIY’ers of any UK region. Not bad for a place with the highest number of private renters in the country.

How Handy Are Brits at Maintaining Their Cars?

Working on simple tasks around the home is one thing, but how does Britain fare when it comes to fixing cars? To find out, we asked people to rate their car maintenance skills, including listing the jobs they can and can’t do under the bonnet.

Here’s what we found out…

List of top 5 motoring maintenance tasks brits can do.List of top 5 motoring maintenance tasks brits can't do.

Compared to household DIY, there’s a clear lack of knowledge and confidence when it comes to car maintenance. On average, 31% of drivers can’t perform any basic maintenance tasks on their vehicle, which includes things like checking tyre pressures, adding screen wash, and replacing wiper blades.

Of all UK regions, Scotland had the worst knowledge of DIY car repairs, with 44% saying they can’t perform even the most basic repairs and maintenance. That includes checking tyre pressure, which under half of people know how to do.

It’s not all bad news, of course. Motorists in the South West proved to have the best DIY car knowledge, with 85% capable of carrying out independent maintenance and repairs.

What’s so striking about these results is the fact that Brits struggle with very basic motoring maintenance. Checking tyre pressures and adding screen wash should be a prerequisite of car ownership, but it seems that many UK drivers lack the basic knowledge to maintain their cars effectively.

The DIY approach to car maintenance might seem intimidating to some, but it’s no different to carrying out tasks and odd jobs around the home. With the right tools, the right products and the right know-how, most car owners should be able to remedy basic issues themselves – and potentially save huge sums in the process.

How Much Money Could Brits Save Through DIY?

DIY is often the cheapest option when it comes to home and motoring maintenance. But just how much could you save by going the do-it-yourself route?

As part of our survey, we asked Brits to list how much they’ve saved through DIY. Here’s what we found…

How Much Money Could Brits Save through DIY_

From our data, it’s clear Brits could make significant savings through DIY, with 10% saying they’ve saved upwards of £1,000 on car and home improvement costs. Perhaps that’s why the vast majority of people plan to learn more DIY to save money in the years to come.

DIY can be a daunting prospect. But with a lot of potential gains, we think it’s well worth having a go – whether that’s around the home or under the bonnet of your car.

At Holts, we encourage our customers to take the DIY route, developing effective products that are easy to use and offer durable, long-term results. Click here to learn more about our DIY car maintenance range.

Do Brits Know the Costs of Car Maintenance?

With fuel prices at record highs and household bills through the roof, every driver is looking to save money where they can. And that got us thinking: just how well do British motorists really know the cost of maintaining a car? To find out, we launched a survey quizzing drivers on the average costs of

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